To people who used and followed me on Viewranger, I have just noticed this waiver on Outdooractive regarding legacy maps. I haven’t signed it and I know that some people may be thinking carefully about whether to sign it. In the meantime I’ll just leave this here.
As Viewranger seems to have stopped recording routes properly, I will be switching to Outdooractive (as Rucksack Rosie) to record future routes. It would seem that people are gradually moving over to this app. You will currently find over 70 published routes there, arranged into 5 different regional collections, including Edinburgh, Leith, the Scottish Borders and Northumberland. Although there has not been much route recording during the pandemic, there are some short lockdown strolls.
If you have any queries about this, there is information about subscriptions on the Outdooractive website and the link to my Rucksack Rosie profile is in the sidebar.
I have been experimenting with both navigation apps for the last six months on my Edinburgh Exploits, City Strolls and Leith Loping routes which are regularly added to. The difference is that if I continue to record routes on Viewranger, they can easily be synched with Outdooractive, but people don’t get the additional features for creators or users. If I record my routes on Outdooractive, then Viewranger becomes a thing of the past. This leaves people who use my routes there to have access to my historic routes only, unless they move across to Outdooractive.
A quick reminder that Viewranger had two subscription tiers – Free and Premium, whereas Outdooractive has three subscription tiers – Basic, which is free, Pro, or Pro Plus. Further information is available on their websites. Remember also that the Viewranger app is no longer updating but is retaining existing routes.
To help me make the decision about which app to choose, or whether to struggle on with both, I have created this poll which will remain open until the 31st August 2021 after which I will announce the results. I welcome your views in the poll and via the moderated comments as I know some users, including myself, are still feeling cheesed off with losing their Viewranger maps bought in good faith.
Warning: Location based apps may be abused by gang stalkers.
Although this continues to be a terrible period for many people, the vaccines and the lockdowns seem to be giving the people in Edinburgh an opportunity to reclaim their city for a while. Last week I realised that I may never see places like the Royal Mile without crowds again, so I have been exploring the old town and added some short central walks to my City Strolls on Outdooractive.
I hope you will enjoy these short walks as the restrictions are lifted from tomorrow. Remember to follow the guidelines and leave no trace.
Happy hiking to women walkers on this International Women’s Day 🌹
As followers will know, I have been uploading my routes on to the ViewRanger app for several years. Apparently ViewRanger has now merged with the Outdooractive app, which is available from all the usual places. There are three subscription tiers on the new app – Basic which is free, Pro and Pro Plus. Further details are available on their website.
Apparently Viewranger routes will remain with them indefinitely, but I have now synchronised my routes onto the new app and will run both in tandem for the time being. I hope walkers will benefit from having the choice until I am able to compare the two apps more.
I wish them well at Outdooractive. Links to both sites can be found in the sidebar of this blog and on YouTube, and for Viewranger read Viewranger or Outdooractive in my blogposts. Thanks. 🌹
FYI I am now Rucksack Rosie with an i, rather than Rucksack Rose on all my sites, so the link to my website has changed to rucksackrosie.wordpress.com just because it feels friendlier somehow. I am not a tech specialist but this may mean you will need to refresh your website links. My YouTube and Outdooractive sites are also now named Rucksack Rosie, although the links to each of them remain the same. Otherwise I am gradually editing the links in my blog so that they continue to work. If you find any broken links let me know. Thanks very much for your continued company.
The hard winter seems to have brought about a bumper spring with an abundance of wild flowers and sunny days up here. I have spent most of the first part of this fruitful year exploring and revisiting the southern part of Northumberland, including Amble and Rothbury. This part of the county is less familiar to me than North Northumberland where I lived for about nine years. However it has been interesting to get to know the area more, revisit older walks and create new ones.
Amble is a bit further up the coast on the main bus route from Newcastle to Berwick. It has a reasonable selection of shops, cafes, and facilities, as well as a busy harbour from which there are boat trips to Coquet Island. Amble Ambles features long and short walks and a trip out to Coquet Island.
Amble isn’t very familiar to me so I felt like an explorer trying to create walks with only the maps and local chat to go on. I am not able to write about this area as intimately as a local person can but I have enjoyed learning more about it.
Rothbury is the site of some of my earliest walks as a teenager and one of my early Rucksack Rose trips in 2012. I have a soft spot for the town which benefits from good facilities, a regular bus service and a great path network radiating from the town centre. My aims here were to add a new walk to my Rothbury Rambles page, and to improve the existing photos and videos on a better camera. It has been a pleasure to revisit these walks and I am quite pleased with how much better the page looks.
Hopefully it won’t be long before I can get further afield to bring you more walking from this season.
Having created a long distance route from a map for a challenge event, I was reminded that following pre-existing routes with signs, guides, waymarks, apps and other hikers for company is reassuring and even soporific at times. However as you may know, once you can absorb the information contained in a map, it becomes easier to create a route of your own. If you have ever looked at Foul Weather Alternatives or taken a short cut, then you have created your own walk.
My background has involved following a lot of other people’s routes, and a helpful spell of route checking for the Ramblers. Their training covered areas such as safety, legality, accessibility, topography, themes and focal points on routes. There are then two stages involved in the process of creating a route. One involves looking at the route on your map and in satellite view (which can reveal inaccuracies in the map), and the other is to reccy the route on foot with all these issues in mind.
What should a good route involve?
The legality of a route is essential if you are offering it for other people to follow. It is therefore good to familiarise yourself with the symbols which denote what type of track it is; right of way, bridle way etc and any rules and exemptions which apply.
Safety is a crucial issue so it is important to be aware of any potential hazards such as river’s in spate, slippery rocks, eroded tracks or obstructions such as fallen trees. You should then try to incorporate these into your route data.
In case of access issues and the use of wheeled vehicles, it is helpful to mention any steps or stiles on the route and a note on the condition of the tracks i.e whether they are full of potholes or overgrown.
The received wisdom when I trained was that a good walk should involve a focal point/s. This could be a view, or historic, natural, sacred, architectural or topographic features in the case of a day hike. In the case of a distance hike there is the opportunity to introduce a theme or feature such as the Pennines (Pennine Way), historic landmarks (Hadrian’s Wall), Abbeys (Borders Abbeys Way) or geographical features such as a river (Speyside Way). A walk could also follow a person’s life (John Muir Trail) or encompass a pilgrimage route (Camino di Santiago).
When working from the map, the following questions could be considered when creating a day hike:
- Are the start and finish accessible?
- Is the walk is do-able?
- What are the gradients like?
- Has it got a gradual start?
- Does it have variety?
- Does it include suitable rest places and shelter?
- Are there any avoidable eyesores?
For a distance hike you could add these questions to your list:
- How far apart are the resupply points?
- Where are the water supplies?
- Is there a variety of accommodation?
- Is it possible to backpack the route?
- Are refreshments available?
This is just a sketch of some of the issues and questions to bear in mind when walking somebody else’s route or creating your own. It can be interesting to evaluate the decisions which have been made for you on pre-existing routes, and to try and improve on them on your own walk. This can become the first step towards creating your own.
With thanks to the Ramblers for the experience, opportunities and training.
I have been digging my old trumpet out and dusting it off to receive this very exciting ViewRanger (Now Outdooractive) award, alongside 9 other distinguished recipients.
Craig Wareham, Co-Founder and CEO of Viewranger, describes the annual award as follows:
‘The Top Publisher Award recognises people, organizations and publishers creating interesting, engaging, and high quality trail guide content. Each year, just ten outdoor organizations and authors receive our top award for contributing outstanding digital content, including route descriptions, turn-by-turn directions and photos to share with the growing outdoor community’
By way of acknowledgement, the ViewRanger app has dragged my blog out of the dusty filing cabinets and card indexes where it was created, and into the digital present. The app provided me with exactly the tools I needed to make my routes accessible to a wider audience and to communicate directly with users.
Thanks to my followers and all at ViewRanger for making it happen for all my Rucksack Rosie sites. Please note that ViewRanger is now assimilated with the Outdooractive app which can be downloaded from the usual places.